Making Beautiful Music
What makes a guitar different? The maker, of course. Two Hands Guitar Company continues a lineage of innovation. I design and engineer each component in concert with one another. In my process, I both build on, and diverge from, historical techniques. I’d like to show you how Two Hands makes the difference for your musical journey.
After much research, I’ve chosen to build Two Hands Guitars with rigid sides. To sustain the ﬁnite amount of energy that the strings produce when struck, I isolate the sides through double-side construction. This ensures that the sides are extremely solid and stable, while protecting against possible future side-splits.
The back of a Two Hands Guitar provides an active air pump. The energy produced by striking the strings excites the air inside of the body, and creates sound. Instead of being rigidly isolated, like the sides, the back works with the soundboard to add resonance to the sounds of plucked or struck strings. The back braces are engineered for less mass than those found on traditional guitars. I taper the brace ends as they approach the outer edges of the back, and tuck and glue their tips into the sides of the guitar through “pockets” routed into the linings. To further reduce mass while adding strength, the back is shaped with a convex, 20-foot radius.
Two Hands Guitars feature reverse-kerfed linings inside, instead of the traditional outward-facing kerfs. Not just more elegant and attractive when looking inside of the guitar, they (together with the rigid sides) offer a stronger and more stable platform upon which the soundboard and back are secured. This minimizes the absorption of sound energy.
Soundboard & Bracing
These are the heart and soul of the guitar, where the tonal voice is generated. With a nod toward the guitars developed by Ervin Somogyi and others, during the modern finger-style movement, Two Hands Guitars provide a great deal of sustain, with abundant volume and projection. Their strong fundamental response allows the music between the notes to stretch and “breathe”, from one to the next. The result: deep, rich, complex overtones.
I engineer my soundboards with a 28-foot radius—slightly convex, not ﬂat. This provides more structural rigidity and allows us to build the soundboard more lightly, and thus, more highly responsive.
To achieve a more complete, evenly-balanced tonal range than traditionally braced instruments, Two Hands Guitars incorporate a “Hybrid-X” bracing design. Instead of the two, asymmetrically-placed lower-bout tone bars found in traditional X-braced guitars, I install four fan braces. These fanning tone bars overlap the lower edge of the bridge plate, and taper as they radiate outward toward the edge of the lower bout.
This X/Fan hybrid bracing produces a balanced response, from bass to mid to treble, so that no particular part of the sonic range jumps out or falls away. This evenness of tone makes these guitars ideal for recording with microphones and/or pickups—and very easy to amplify and EQ onstage.
Laminate Bridge Plate
Two Hands’ proprietary bridge plate design not only offers superior strength, but also transmits string energy with amazing efficiency. Unlike traditional steel string bridge plates made with solid, thick woods, our bridge plates are thinner, lighter, and engineered with a three-ply construction: a super-rigid laminate of Rosewood, carbon ﬁber weave, and .010” ﬁber veneer. The ﬁnished bridge plate is only 5/64” thick. It’s more tonally responsive, and imbues a mysteriously ethereal sound. Our bridge plate is also much more resistant to wear and tear. No difficult, expensive repairs from strings eroding the plate.
Modified Spanish Foot Neck Block
To strengthen the forward area of the soundboard, and to counteract the immense torque generated by the force of the strings, we’ve engineered a modiﬁed Spanish-foot design into the neck block. Along with the upper cross-brace of the soundboard, it supports the downward thrust, underneath the fretboard extension, more efﬁciently. This allows the rigid sides to help carry the load.
In traditional guitars, insufficient support under the ﬁngerboard extension can distort the neck joint area. We engineer this problem spot out. You should never need to have the neck reset.
Neck & Neck Joint
I carve all of my guitar necks by hand, no CNC machines. The standard shape is slim and fast, with a medium-C proﬁle. However, if you desire something different, that’s no problem. The standard ﬁngerboard radius found on Two Hands Guitars is 16 inches, but again, this can be customized to accommodate your needs.
We’ve engineered a bolt-on, mortise-and-tenon neck joint on all Two Hands guitars. This modern joint is every bit as good as, if not superior to, the traditional dovetail neck joint. Should the neck ever need a reﬁt or other service, it can be disassembled in minutes, without harm to any of the components.
Cantilevered Neck Extension
With the radius (or dome) engineered into most modern acoustic guitar soundboards, it’s challenging to achieve the proper geometry between the ﬁngerboard trajectory, string height, and bridge/saddle height. The luthier must alter the plane of the soundboard until the proper angle is achieved.
Usually this is done by sanding away material below the fretboard extension. However, this weakens a vital area of the guitar. To avoid the potential for catastrophic failure, we achieve this angle simply and safely, by adding a small wedge of material underneath the extension.